Park Ridge Park District Wants To Spend $7.1 Million To Replace Centennial Pool
The Park Ridge Park District wants to spend $7.1 million to replace Centennial Pool; meanwhile, it's considering asking voters for a similar amount in a referendum. Residents at an info meeting gave the pool blueprint good reviews, mostly.
Plans to replace Centennial Pool at Touhy and Western in Park Ridge with a new aquatic complex got generally good reviews from most people who came to see them at a Nov. 8 informational meeting, although several regular lap and competitive swimmers pleaded for a bigger lap pool.
The plan is to replace two existing six-lane pools, both 58 years old and well past their expected lifespan, with two new pools: a leisure pool that would have a zero-depth edge, water play structures and slides, as well as three swimming lanes that could be used for laps during off hours and recreation when the pool is crowded; and a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool that also would have a drop-slide and diving board.
The existing wading pool for small children would remain.
The estimated cost is $7.1 million. Park Ridge Park District Executive Director Gayle Mountcastle said the park district can pay that much without asking voters in a referendum or increasing property taxes. The district plans to sell $6.3 million in general obligation bonds – which it has room to do under its non-referendum bonding authority – and spend $800,000 out of the capital projects fund.
If all goes according to plan, construction would start late next summer, with the pool closing a couple of weeks early, and finish in time for a grand opening on July 4, 2014.
Jim Maland, from Stantec Consulting, said there is no question the pools need to be replaced. Metal-shell pools like the existing pools tend to get small “pinholes” from corrosion, he said. There are enough of them in the pools at Centennial Park that when the pools were drained for maintenance, ground water seeped into them through the bottom, and during the summer pool staff find it difficult to maintain the proper chemical balance in the pools. Municipal pools generally last 30 to 40 years, said Maland, and these have been in service for nearly 60.
Several of the 40 or so residents who came to the meeting said they wanted to see the lap pool expanded to eight lanes and 25 meters – a little less than 6 and a half feet longer than 25 yards – to make it more viable for swim meets. Many recalled meetings about the Community Center’s indoor pool years ago, in which swimmers explained that the pool would have to have at least six lanes to be used for competition. The park district built four lanes, and the pool was never a regular site for indoor swim meets.
Barry Dayton said he’s a competitive swimmer who has been swimming in Park Ridge pools for 40 years. It makes no sense to build an outdoor pool with six lanes when there is room for eight, he said.
Glenn Lorentz agreed, but questioned whether the community’s pleas would have any effect, based on what happened with the Community Center pool.
“They ask for our input, and then they do what they please,” said Lorentz, who said he often swims in Glenview because there are better facilities there.
The park board is scheduled to vote on the conceptual plan at its meeting Nov. 15, but board vice president Mary Wynn Ryan said there is still time to make modifications.
The Park Ridge Park District also must decide soon whether to hold a referendum to ask for money to buy and develop the 11.4 acre Youth Campus site as park, at an estimated cost of $6.6 million.
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